dis·​in·​gen·​u·​ous | \ ˌdis-in-ˈjen-yə-wəs, -yü-əs\

Definition of disingenuous

: lacking in candor also : giving a false appearance of simple frankness : calculating

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Other Words from disingenuous

disingenuously adverb
disingenuousness noun

Disingenuous Has a Roman History

Ingenous has its roots in the slave-holding society of ancient Rome. Its ancestor ingenuus is a Latin adjective meaning "native" or "freeborn" (itself from gignere, meaning "to beget"). Ingenuus begot the English adjective ingenuous. That adjective originally meant "freeborn" (as in "ingenuous Roman subjects") or "noble and honorable," but it eventually came to mean "showing childlike innocence" or "lacking guile." In the mid-17th century, English speakers combined the negative prefix dis- with ingenuous to create disingenuous, meaning "guileful" or "deceitful."

Examples of disingenuous in a Sentence

"It's had nine murders since 1937—about the same as you would get in many small towns." This was correct, but a wee disingenuous. The AT [Appalachian Trail] had no murders in its first thirty-six years and nine in the past twenty-two. — Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods, 1999 … and he egged Badger on, asking a disingenuous question about the antivivisection rally in Cleveland, and as Badger took the thought up and chewed it over, the Doctor made as if to excuse himself. — T. Coraghessan Boyle, The Road to Wellville, 1993 … he has a disingenuous way of resorting to slang when he wants to make a big point but is afraid of sounding pretentious. — Karen Schoemer, New York Times Book Review, 31 Oct. 1993 Unity is at best an ideal, at worst a disingenuous political slogan. — Salman Rushdie, The Independent on Sunday, 25 Nov. 1990 Her recent expressions of concern are self-serving and disingenuous.
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Recent Examples on the Web

These days, everyone caves to demands for public mea culpas, but Bee’s felt particularly disingenuous. Jessica Bennett, New York Times, "About Samantha Bee, Ivanka Trump and That Word," 2 June 2018 So, if the motivation is to sell more product, then cause marketing is not the way to do that because it’s usually seen as disingenuous. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Warby Parker Founders Neil Blumenthal and David Gilboa, and Iman, on Why Being an Activist “Is a Daily Thing”," 11 Oct. 2018 There's nothing left to investigate here, everyone knows that, this is a political tactic, and is disingenuous. Fox News, "Brit Hume on fallout from Kavanaugh hearing; Alan Dershowitz on Rachel Mitchell's performance," 28 Sep. 2018 The furor over Trump's snub of the Eagles and the disingenuous reasons behind it is understandable. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Trump's White House ceremony is a joke. Here's what isn't," 5 June 2018 On a toy motorcycle, such a design decision might make sense, but on the real thing, the result seems disingenuous. Nick Goddard, Popular Mechanics, "The Ducati Scrambler Icon Bike Just Got a Little Sweeter To Ride," 25 Sep. 2018 Senate Republicans are also reluctantly playing Trump's disingenuous game about which branch of government is to blame for what's happening. Amber Phillips, Washington Post, "Senate Republicans just rebuked Trump on family separations," 19 June 2018 And yes, there are certainly cynics who may feel that Apple and Google’s efforts are disingenuous — after all, these companies have always wanted to ensure that users, hardware sales, and, most importantly, profits go up ahead of anything else. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "How do Apple’s Screen Time and Google Digital Wellbeing stack up?," 5 June 2018 Opposition from Democrats now is also disingenuous given their silence as Mr. Obama pursued his losing strategy. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump’s Afghan Commitment," 22 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disingenuous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of disingenuous

1655, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

24 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for disingenuous

The first known use of disingenuous was in 1655

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English Language Learners Definition of disingenuous

: not truly honest or sincere : giving the false appearance of being honest or sincere

Comments on disingenuous

What made you want to look up disingenuous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

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